Oil Refineries Don’t Just Pollute; They Also Kill Workers

By Jim Morris - Center for Public Integrity, December 13, 2016

ANACORTES, Washington—From 500 yards away, John Moore felt the concussion before he heard it.

Winter of Dissent

By x356039 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, December 14, 2016

The Establishment is at war with itself. On one side you have two national security agencies, the CIA and NSA, who are claiming the Russian government used hackers to rig the outcome of the election in Trump’s favor. On the other you have the FBI who, ten days before the election, put their thumb on the scale in Trump’s favor. Tying them all together are claims FBI Director James Comey was in contact with Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani, who has recently withdrawn from consideration for a Cabinet position, and NSA leaks alleging the Trump campaign was in contact with Russian government well before Election Day but that’s not all. The cherry on this fascist sundae is Senator Mitch McConnell’s von Papen-esque decision to halt any sort of bipartisan Congressional statement on the matter. His wife has since been nominated as Secretary of Transportation, a move that is most surely just a coincidence as is naming of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, who recently lost half a trillion dollars in potential oil drilling rights to anti-Russian sanctions, as Secretary of State. All around this chaos and corruption the pattern of racist, classist vote suppression operations and electoral fraud is coming into sharp, clear focus.

There’s been a mixed response to this news from radicals of all stripes. Many, quite understandably, are wary of all the agencies involved feeling none of these actors are credible or trustworthy. Others are busy processing the sudden lurch of political conditions from House of Cards to Game of Thrones. None of what is being said by the CIA, the FBI, or the NSA needs to be true for it to be clear as glass they are slugging it out. Never before in American history have agencies of the national security establishment so openly gone to war over any presidential election. By the standards of American history this is a constitutional crisis in a state already suffering from a serious crisis of legitimacy.

A blueprint for a party of an old type

By Scott Jay - Libcom.Org, November 27, 2016

A Blueprint for a New Party recently published in Jacobin Magazine is more of a strategy for campaigning for Democrats than a path to strengthening social movements.

These are desperate times. The victory of Donald Trump promises a rightward turn in US policy as well as an emboldened far-Right in the streets. Immigrants will be among the first attacked by Trump’s promise to expel them en masse, but they and others will also continue to see an increase in daily harassment, racist attacks and organized vigilante violence.

In response to these horrors, Jacobin Magazine, which enthusiastically promoted Bernie Sanders as a route to rebuilding the Left, has published an article by Seth Ackerman which provides what he calls “A Blueprint for a New Party.” Having put all their eggs in the Sanders basket for the past year, Jacobin and Ackerman now lay out the possible next steps for what the Sanders campaign supposedly promised all along–a newly formed independent third party to the left of the Democrats. Ackerman describes this, at the end of the article, as a Party of a New Type.

What Ackerman provides is a lengthy history and analysis of attempts to build third parties, in particular the US Labor Party, and challenges to attaining and keeping access to the ballot. What he does not provide is much a of a picture of how this Party of a New Type is going to be built, or by whom, or why anybody would want anything to do with it. It is not even clear what sort of politics it would have or what–if anything–it would do besides run candidates, although it may not even run candidates, apparently. How it would even build the membership and resources to eventually run candidates is left as an exercise for the reader, as they say in a graduate seminar.

Before we proceed, imagine for a moment that instead of the Left enthusing over Bernie Sanders for the past year they had focused on organizing among working people and oppressed people in defending themselves from the daily onslaught of capitalism. Imagine what a stronger position we would all be in now, as the newly empowered far-Right seeks to assault the lives and dignities of immigrants, women, African-Americans, the LGBTQ community, and others. Instead of talking abstractly about the possibilities of a New Party, we would be talking about how to stop deportations, racist attacks and sexual assaults. There are people around the US who have been doing just that, who do not call themselves Leftists or read socialist periodicals, who have been working on protecting their family members and neighbors from being deported or being beaten by the police.

Ackerman’s proposal seems less interested in these problems and instead focuses on the question of whether or not an electoral party should seek its own ballot line, to which he boldly answers: “Sometimes.”

Community-Driven Social Change in the Age of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

By staff - Murphy Institute, November 22, 2016

How can we make sense of the organizing coming out of today’s social change and resistance movements?

In a new article coming out in the Fordham Urban Law Journal, Professor Michael Haber connects many of today’s most important movements—from post-Occupy community organizing to the rise of the worker co-op movement to parts of the Movement for Black Lives—by looking at how activists’ growing understanding of the non-profit industrial complex has led to the creation of a new framework for social change practice, what he calls the community counter-institution.

Community counter-institutions have grown out of a decades-long tradition of anti-authoritarian activism, one with roots in women-of-color feminism and the service models of the Black Panther Party of the late 1960s and early 1970s, growing through the radical pacifist, anti-nuclear, LGBTQIA, and environmental movements of the 1970s and 1980s, continuing through the anti-globalization movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and getting perhaps its greatest boost through the Occupy Movement in the early 2010s. The article traces this history, focusing on how activists in recent years have come to develop an alternative model for community-driven activism, one that breaks from the dominant non-profit forms of community organizing, service provision, and community economic development.

The article, CED After #OWS: From Community Economic Development to Anti-Authoritarian Community Counter-Institutions, describes how community counter-institutions have grown out of this tradition of anti-authoritarian activism, making three shifts away from conventional non-profit practices:

  1. From hierarchy to horizontalism and intersectionality. Community counter-institutions move away from hierarchically-structured non-profit forms toward horizontalism and intersectionality, shifting away from conventional non-profits to new ways of structuring our group relationships that strive to overcome all forms of domination, including those that have led once-activist groups to embrace certain structural traits of the business world.
  2. From community economic development to prefigurative politics. Community counter-institutions move away from traditional, market-based community economic development projects toward an embrace of prefigurativism, the use of processes in organizing and building a social change movement that are themselves already constructing the world we want to see.
  3. From empowerment to autonomy. Community counter-institutions move away from a focus on empowerment, in which community dialogue, group cohesion, and compromise are top priorities, and instead they prioritize autonomism, organizing and taking action toward shared goals through small groups connected with one another through decentralized networks.

In these bleak times, clear visions for community-driven social change activism, and thoughtful analyses of our current models are essential. Haber spells out challenges that activists and organizers to overcome, analyzing a wide range of projects including the Common Ground Collective, Hands Up United, Mayday Space, Occupy Sandy, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and is full of hundreds of footnotes for further reading.

Saskatchewan workers in solidarity with Standing Rock

By Denise Leduc - Rank and File, November 30, 2016

Organizing on social media brought a group of Saskatchewanians together to travel south to North Dakota to visit Standing Rock earlier this month. Amongst this group were several union members and labour activists. Speaking with four from the group – Cat Gendron, Darin Milo, Nathan Schneider and Chelsea Taylor-Flook, they share why they went, some of their experiences and what they bring back home.

All expressed the desire to learn as one reason to make the trip. Darin Milo added that the human rights and environmental issues were reasons he went. “Does an oil company get the ultimate say,” he asks, “Can they override democracy?”

Milo, a member of COPE Local 397 also explains that in the original plan for the pipeline, it was to be built closer to Bismarck. When people in the town rightly voiced their concerns about the pipeline it was rerouted closer to Indigenous land. Additionally, the pipeline would travel beneath the Missouri River which is the water supply for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of approximately 10,000 people.

One cannot ignore the question of racism when a mostly white town can get the pipeline moved but the concerns of Indigenous people are not met with the same consideration. Furthermore, construction of this pipeline in the planned location would also break the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.

Milo adds that the AFL-CIO and USW have supported this pipeline project, yet individual American trade unionists are taking a stand, and even defying union leadership for what they believe is right. In fact, many have become frustrated by the mainstream union support for pipelines. Many workers have come to the camp on their own and together have established a labor camp as part of the larger protest. Milo said it was surprising the number of American workers that were there from the building trades. He admits many of these workers are between a rock and hard a place-on one hand their concerns over what they believe is right and just, while on the other hand having concerns over good jobs and feeding their families. Even here in Saskatchewan, frictions can be caused over the Dakota Access Pipeline as the actual pipeline would be manufactured at Evraz in Regina.

Milo is troubled over the use of dogs, pepper spray, and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters. Yet, he says, “As trade unionists we have to stand up for union jobs, but we also have to stand up for human rights.”

Cat Gendron a labour and climate activist admits that she wasn’t expecting the frequency of helicopters, drones, and the number of police she witnessed while at the camp. Nathan Schneider, also a member of COPE went for a walk one of the evenings of the trip. As he strolled across the highway and over a hill, behind barricades he viewed dozens of police and military vehicles. He was surprised and concerned over the heavy hand the state was using against peaceful protestors.

Despite the militarized environment, there was also a feeling of hope at the camp. Gendron went to learn and help out and within minutes of arriving at the camp the Saskatchewan group found themselves unloading supplies delivered to the camp. She claims that the Octei Sakowin Camp which is the largest camp at the protest was well-coordinated, very organized and inclusive. Thousands of people were there. She also appreciated that it was respected throughout the camp that this was an Indigenous-led movement. There was also a legal camp, a place for healing, as well as treaty and direct action classes, and building crews for the winter construction.

Gendron describes a candlelight vigil put on by the Youth Council. A thousand people walked through the dark with candles guiding their way to the Missouri River. Once at the river prayers were offered for the water and for the water protectors. Then prayers were also offered to the construction workers in spite of a construction worker pulling a gun on members of the camp that same day. There was acknowledgement that construction workers were just there trying to do a job and provide for their families. Gendron believes it is the system that pits people against each other.

Of the people at Standing Rock she says, “Where you are expecting anger and frustration, instead you get compassion and empathy.” She adds, “We have a lot to learn.”

Chelsea Taylor-Flook agrees. Although she has a lot of experience in labour, environmental and Indigenous Rights activism, she said the vigil was one of the largest and most powerful marches she has been a part of. Despite the constant police and military presence she enjoyed the atmosphere of the camp. It was a safe place where everyone was looking out for each other. There was support, healing and the understanding that people on both sides of this issue were facing challenges. In the evenings there were drummers, singers and an emcee. Taylor-Flook feels it was the asserting of local traditions that were carrying the camp. She also believes that labour and Indigenous group are natural allies.

In This Moment, Labor Must Become a Movement

By Moshe Marvit  - On Labor, November 21, 2016

Moshe Z. Marvit is an attorney and fellow with The Century Foundation, focusing on labor and employment law and policy. He is the co-author (with Rick Kahlenberg) of the book, “Why Labor Organizing Should be a Civil Right.”

This post is part of a series on Labor in the Trump Years.

With the election of President-elect Donald Trump, labor faces a unique opportunity.  Yes, it will face hostility in all branches of the federal government, and will have to maintain a multi-pronged fight.  Yes, union density numbers are at historically low levels, and the bulwark of public-sector unionism may suffer a major blow at the Supreme Court through a case challenging the constitutionality of fair-share fees in the public sector.  Yes, it will face unprecedented challenges to expand, let alone stay afloat.  But in the midst of all this, labor has the opportunity to reform itself so that it can not only survive a Trump administration, but grow as well.  Perhaps “opportunity” is the wrong word to describe the moment; labor has the existential imperative to reform itself, harness the existing energy, and lead a movement.

There is no doubt that Donald Trump—through the use of Executive Orders, executive and judicial appointments, and legislative priorities—will likely usher in an environment that is hostile to labor.  However, unlike Ronald Reagan, Trump ran a campaign that provided the ground for labor to reform itself.  First, he will be the first president in modern history that ran a campaign that was centered around worker issues.  All presidential candidates talk about middle and working class issues, but successful campaigns are rarely centered on improving the lot of workers.  Second, Trump’s calls for mass deportations, exclusion of Muslims, dismantling of the regulatory state, limits to access for abortion, and a litany of xenophobic actions and policies, have united large swaths of Americans in opposition.  Under these conditions, labor can transform itself from what has increasingly become a membership-based services organization into a movement.

In the short time since the election, there has been a palpable desire by many to organize, to resist, to act together in ways that show opposition and can effectively oppose Trump’s agenda.  Many are new to political organizing, and are searching for means of engaging in collective action.  They are creating “secret” Facebook groups, coming together in ad-hoc groups of like-minded individuals, and taking to the streets in protest.  There have been daily protests in cities across the country, there is talk of a “Sick Out” or general strike on Inauguration Day, there are plans for a Million Woman March on Washington on January 21, and these actions are likely to spread.  As a result, there is a turning of attention to institutions that can effectively challenge state power.

However, there are few such institutions in American life that are national, cut across demographics and class, and have a history and ability to organize people.  Though labor may not be the ideal choice to fill this role, it may be the only choice.  And if it reforms itself into a movement of the disaffected, it may be able to grow in ways that traditional employer-by-employer organizing has not been able to achieve.

To do this, labor should look to its locals that have been able to organize communities, rather than narrowly and solely focus on the bread-and-butter issues of its membership.  The Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) is one such example.  Facing a deterioration of schools, mass closures of schools in the most vulnerable communities, budget cuts, and a new law that raised the threshold for a strike, the CTU positioned itself as the organization that was fighting for communities and quality education.  Instead of making the fight solely about wages and benefits, it became about access to school counselors and libraries, air conditioning in schools during Chicago’s sweltering summers, and proper funding that provided educational opportunities for students in all neighborhoods.  Highlighting Rahm Emanuel’s abrasive rhetoric, his connections to corporate interests, and his Draconian education policies, the CTU was able to position Rahm Emanuel as the villain (it can only help a movement to have a good villain, such as Sherriff Bull Connor in the 1960s).  Then, in order to meet the high legal threshold necessary for a strike, the CTU engaged its membership and interested communities to ensure mass participation.  The seven-day strike of 2012 was an enormous success, with the CTU emerging with high levels of support and many of their demands met.

This year, threatening another strike, the CTU was able to get Rahm Emanuel to divert tens of millions of dollars from discretionary Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds to the Chicago public school system.  Teachers unions have been particularly adept at this type of organizing, as can be seen with the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, who were able to negotiate a contract provision that requires that the School District, which is the largest bank customer in the region, to not bank with any institution that does not have a written policy prohibiting foreclosure of homes with school aged children living in them.  It is this type of local community-centered common-good unionism that should be harnessed in taking the lead against Trump’s agenda.

Labor is used to fighting its battles alone, and transforming into a movement will require it to make democratic reforms, engage its membership more, and organize actions that are not directly related to the workplace.  In many of the major cities where protests are already taking shape, from Los Angeles to New York, labor has a strong presence and can work to galvanize disparate movements.  Labor unions can have a particularly resonant voice in mobilizing for workers’ issues and against Trump’s extremist agenda both because of their deep organizing experience and because of Trump as a self-styled workers’ candidate.  No group is better suited to monitor Trump and bring to the light the ways in which he is falling short of his promises to help workers.

Much of this work should come from the labor locals, rather than the internationals, as the locals are more connected to their communities and better understand the direct needs of those communities.  Further, locals can more effectively use local and regional power to rally against federal actions that Trump has promised.  In doing so, labor can attract more people to have positive experiences with labor, and see it as a common force for good.  Many of those individuals will experience firsthand the power of organizing and collective action, and will have contacts with local labor organizers, all of which will create more fertile ground for organizing in the workplace and organizing for more progressive policies on the state and local level.

No one knows what the political reality for labor will look like under a Trump administration.  It is likely that Executive Orders that help labor will be rescinded; a Supreme Court with a fifth conservative Justice is likely to be hostile to labor; the NLRB will likely take a conservative turn, and may have its budget slashed.  Under these conditions, labor cannot simply assume a defensive posture and try to weather the storm.  It cannot make milquetoast responses, saying it will work with Trump on areas of common ground, but instead should take this opportunity to enact reforms that have been long overdue, and transform itself into a movement for workers.

Winterizing is Political

By Nickita Longman - Briar Patch, November 23, 2016

Organizing a camp takes all hands on deck. My recent visit to Oceti Sakowin Camp on Standing Rock reservation was no exception. While police surveillance of the camp goes round the clock, so does the tireless labour and work required to winterize the space with the impending cold.

The evening of November 20 marked perhaps the most violent attack of Standing Rock water protectors by militarized police to date: the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council estimated that 300 people were treated for injuries and 26 people were taken to hospital. Protectors at Standing Rock are resisting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is to cross the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. It had previously been planned to cross the river north of Bismarck, ND, but it was rerouted to its current path after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined it would threaten municipal water wells.

Protectors defending the Missouri River from the pipeline are not unacquainted with weapons euphemized as “less-than-lethal”: rubber bullets, concussion grenades, and teargas. The most disturbing use of force against the brave souls who are protecting water in Sunday night’s attack was the militarized police’s abuse of water cannons in freezing temperatures. Unicorn Riot reported that a 13-year-old girl was shot in the face by law enforcement; two people suffered the effects of cardiac arrest. Many suffered from hypothermia. With winter quickly approaching, winterization and warmth in the camp is needed now more than ever.

The developed camp houses seven kitchens, a main meeting dome and a mess hall, a medic centre, art spaces, donations tents, two sacred fires, a carpentry shop, a school, and plenty of individualized sleeping quarters. All of these spaces require revamping for the coming cold. Often, that entails insulation and flooring, and indoor propane heating.

The prairie cold in North Dakota is harsh and biting, and many allies and visitors from more temperate climates can be unaccustomed to it. The winterization process is all the more urgent to ensure that all protectors – those from the prairies or elsewhere – are insulated from the elements.

Liam Cain, a trade unionist with LIUNA 1271/IWW EUC, understands that winterizing is part of the long haul resistance. “The folks staying for the winter are inspirational and determined, and coming from Wyoming I recognize the necessity of solid, weatherproof shelter to get through the bitter cold.”

Cain, who has a general background in construction and is also a representative of Labor for Standing Rock, knows firsthand of the efforts required for the winterization process. “We were buying things in bulk – 2×4s, plywood, fasteners, screws,” he explains. Cain went on countless supply runs to assist the process. “Our motive was just to plug in with the people already starting the work and help bridge the gaps.”

In my short time at the camp, I volunteered in a kitchen operated by an Indigenous woman named Rachel. The kitchen recently had insulated flooring installed with the help of Cain and others associated with Labor for Standing Rock, and moving and organizing her space was the next step in promoting a smooth functioning kitchen to put warm food in the bellies of the water protectors.

Resolution Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Resolution passed by Railroad Workers United - November 2, 2016

Whereas, the  unprecedented  $3.78  Billion,  1,172-mile  Dakota  Access  Pipeline would carry over half a million barrels of dirty crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in  North  Dakota,  through  South  Dakota  and  Iowa  to  Illinois  to  connect  to  other pipelines bringing oil to the East Coast and the Gulf; and

Whereas, the  pipeline  is slated to pass through the tribal lands of Standing Rock Sioux  near  Cannon  Ball,  North  Dakota,  and  underneath  the  Missouri  River,  the main source of water for the tribe; and

Whereas, the  pipeline  is  slated  to  pass  under  the  Missouri  River  a  second  time before  passing  under  the  Mississippi  River,  a  total  watershed  coving  40%  of  the continental United States; and

Whereas, the pipeline has already disturbed the lives of millions of Americans; and

Whereas, millions  of  workers--including  many  union  members  and  their  their families--live in communities that are in thepath of the proposed pipeline; and

Whereas, the transport of heavy crude is particularly volatile, leading to 18.4 million gallons of oils and chemicals spilled, leaked, or released into the air, land, and waterways  between  2006  and  2014  in  North  Dakota  alone,  causing  death,  contamination of soil and water, and numerous types of disease; and

Whereas, scientists  have  warned  that  in  order  to  avoid  wide-scale,  catastrophic climate disruption, the vast majority of known remaining fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground; and

Whereas, people  engaged  in  protecting  their  land  and  water  have  been  brutally attacked by private security forces in both Iowa and North Dakota; and

Whereas, Native  Americans  and  other  activists  defending  their  land  and  water have  the  same  right  to  defend  their  land  and  engage  in  non-violent  protest  as workers who are protesting the actions of an unfair employer; and

Whereas, the  U.S.  Congress  has  repealed  the  ban  on  exporting  oil,  meaning  that the oil transported by the pipeline is likely to be sold overseas and not contribute to US energy independence; and

Whereas, we know that a very real threat to workers’ lives and livelihoods is the prospect of catastrophic climate change; and

Whereas pipelines  accidents,  such  as  the  recent  Helena,  Alabama  gas  pipeline explosion  which  killed  one  and  injured  five,  pose  a  threat  to  workers  and  their communities; and

Whereas, many  large  corporations,  and  especially  fossil  fuel  corporations,  have been  putting  profits  ahead  of  the  common  good  of  workers,  the  public,  and  the environment, and these corporations have been unjustly granted the constitutional  rights  and  powers of “person-hood”, diminishing  democracy and  the  voice  and power of the people; and

Whereas, numerous national and international unions have already passed resolutions against construction of the pipeline, including National Nurses United, the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Communications Workers of America, the United Electrical Workers, Service Employees International Union, and others; and

Whereas, these unions have an economic, environmental and racial justice strategy which has been employed to win membership strikes through broad base support by non-unionized workers and community members; and

Whereas, unions  in  support  of  Standing  Rock,  and  against  the  Dakota  Access  Pipeline  have  come  under  attack from reactionary unions who have engaged in the bad practice of collaborating with bosses, such as the virulently anti-union Koch Brothers; and

Whereas, Railroad  Workers  United  is  already  on  record  supporting  the  development  of  a  just  transition  plan  for

workers affected by fossil fuel elimination; and

Whereas, more long-term good paying jobs would be created by investing in sustainable energy infrastructure projects using already existing technologies while at the same time reducing greenhouse gases; and

Whereas, we support the rights of our union brothers and sisters building the pipeline to work in safe environments at jobs that are consistent with respect for the environment and the rights and safety of frontline communities;

Therefore Be  it Resolved, that we call upon the Federal Government to  make permanent the moratorium  on  construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline by revoking permits for construction issued by the Army Corps of Engineers; and

Be it Further Resolved, that Railroad Workers United calls on the labor movement to support a just transition to a renewable energy  economy  and  investment  in  the  construction  of a  nationwide sustainable energy  infrastructure that will address the growing threat of climate change and its consequent droughts, floods, fire, crop failure, species extinction and other dire consequences of global warming;

Be it Finally Resolved, Railroad Workers United urges all railroad craft unions and the rest of the labor movement to become actively involved in promoting a just transition to a sustainable alternative energy economy that protects the  environment and respects  the rights of all working people to good paying safe  jobs, human  rights and justice for all.

After Brexit and Trump: don't demonise; localise!

By Helena Norberg-Hodge & Rupert Read - The Ecologist, November 22, 2016

The election of Donald Trump was a rude awakening from which many people in the US have still not recovered.

Their shock is similar to that felt by UK progressives, Greens, and those on the Left following the Brexit referendum.

In both cases, the visceral reaction was heightened by the barely-disguised racist and xenophobic messaging underpinning these campaigns.

Before these sentiments grow even more extreme, it's vital that we understand their root cause. If we simply react in horror and outrage, if we only protest and denounce, then we fail to grasp the deeper ramifications of their votes.

For the defeat of both the Clinton campaign in the US and the Remain campaign in the UK can be explained by their inability to address the pain endured by ordinary citizens in the era of globalisation.

By failing to focus on the reckless profiteers driving the global economy, they allowed their opponents to offer a less truthful and more hateful explanation for voters' social and economic distress.

In order to move forward, we need to give those who voted for Trump and Brexit something better to believe in. And we can. Because in both countries, voters emphatically rejected the system that has inflicted so much social and economic insecurity: pro-corporate globalisation. And that is the silver lining to the dark storm clouds we see.

A new Lucas Plan for the future

By David King - Morning Star, November 26, 2016

The ideas pioneered by the Lucas workers are just as, or more, relevant now than in the 1970s, and there are strong political similarities in the situation.

As in the ’70s, we have an economic crisis caused by unjust economic policies and the failure of successive governments’ industrial strategy.

As usual, this has hit the working class hardest, and anger over this is being channelled into racism against immigrants. Now, the environmental effects of industrial capitalism are far more evident than 40 years ago, already creating wars, militarisation and widespread concern about insecurity.

Finally, introduction of new technologies threatens structural unemployment on a scale considerably greater than the ’70s.

The Tory government’s response to the economic and political crisis, despite continuing to publicly espouse neoliberal principles, looks a lot like a classic Keynesian economic stimulus package.

In the last few months it has made decisions to move ahead with a range of industrial infrastructure megaprojects — Hinkley C, fracking, HS2 and the Heathrow third runway, as well as pressing ahead with spending £200 billion on Trident renewal.

A key element in the case for all these projects is the jobs that they will generate or preserve, although the jobs estimates are bound to be inflated, while the price tag will be massively underestimated.

Compared to the ’70s, far fewer jobs will be created in this way because, due to automation and mechanisation, they are all highly capital rather than labour-intensive.

The Lucas Aerospace workers’ idea of socially useful production suggests a far better way forward.


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